Helping shelters prevent and respond to disease outbreaks

Dr. Cynda Crawford sending a survivor to its new homePlease view the updated (2021) version of this resource here.

The UF Shelter Medicine Team, headed up by Dr. Cynda Crawford, works with shelters across the country that are struggling with disease outbreaks. Does your shelter already have a disease response plan developed with a qualified shelter veterinarian? If not, then your immediate response should be to reach out for help.

The good news is there are several shelter medicine programs at veterinary colleges around the country that offer programs designed to assist you with outbreak response, including here at UF:

What’s better than outbreak response? Outbreak prevention.

“Vaccination on admission is crucial to preventing and stopping the spread of many outbreaks,” said Dr. Crawford. “But while vaccination will benefit many dogs rapidly, it’s not a magic bullet.. You have to use other strategies at the same time.”

Dr. Crawford says that exceeding your organization’s capacity for care is the biggest risk factor for disease outbreaks in animal shelters. The Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis offers consultations specifically aimed at helping shelters with capacity for care.

Want more resources? Take a look at the following presentations from Dr. Crawford:

Just remember: Whether it’s response or prevention, help is out there! You just need to ask.